Veterans Day from the perspective of a vet

I will keep this concise.

I am a 30 year veteran of the US Navy and Naval Reserve. I joined when I was 17 in order to get an education and get going in life. Well, I certainly accomplished that goal! During my 11 years of active duty I lived in two foreign countries for over 5 years and had several stateside duty stations in addition to about two years of electronics and specialized training. While I was building my business (started it with another Navy vet) I spent 20 years in the reserves.

During this time I met a HUGE number of people in the military, some of whom are lifelong friends, a few I never want to see again, plus a lot of people that I enjoyed growing up and working around. The military gave me an opportunity to mix and mingle with a spectrum of people both in and out of the service that I would probably never have had otherwise. I found out about how people actually live in other countries (as opposed to dropping in for a one day visit on a tour bus.)

What really sticks with me is that we in the military just do our jobs. Whether you are a fighter pilot, skipper of an aircraft carrier or of a PT boat, if you fix electronic gear that you can never talk about (me) or you are patrolling some village in the armpit of the world, you just do your job. You never expect that anything extraordinary will happen until it does, and then you just do your job.

I look back at all of the people that I knew in the Navy and a lot of them were 'crazy' and had a lot of 'issues', but as an organization, we got it done. Despite all of the bitching and moaning and complaining, we got it done.

A mentor of mine (Navy, of course... now deceased) used to say "Some people are born great while others have greatness thrust upon them". This is really how it goes in the military. No one really wants to be a hero. They just do their job. But when the moment comes and they step up to the plate and do what needs to be done AND they get it done... THAT is what I reflect on and remember on Veterans Day. Not everyone became a 'hero', but as a team, we did what we were asked and WE GOT IT DONE.

Some vets have lived through hell before their 19th birthday and some (like yours truly) retired after 30 years without the proverbial scratch. My hat goes off to ALL of the veterans who volunteered, did what needed to be done and did their job for the USA so that the rest of us can be free to do ours!

Celebrating Veterans Day 2010

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